IE Master of International Relations Institutional Visit to Brussels
From March 17th to 21st , the 2013/2014 IE Master in International Relations cohort traveled to Brussels for institutional visits to the main European institutions and NATO. The European Union as a successful model of regional integration is a core element in the MIR curriculum and the trip to Brussels represents a unique opportunity for the students to interact with key decision makers from the organizations they study in class.
The students began with a visit to the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. They were greeted by Klaus Hullmann, Administrator at the Directorate for Communication of the CoR. His informal, honest and often humorous account of the role of the Committee of the Regions within the EU made a positive impression on the class. At the Commission, several representatives from the European External Action Service, the Directorate General for Climate Action, the Directorate General for Enlargement and the Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection explained the inner workings of their departments’ day to day operations. At the Parliament, the class had the opportunity to sit in a meeting of the sub-committee for defense and security (SEDE) in which the recent establishment of the European Air Transport Command for pooling and sharing of military assets in Europe was discussed. This came a day before Spain formally joined the EATC.
On Thursday, MIR students spent the day at the NATO headquarters and were addressed by officials from different units including José Maria López-Navarro, Information Officer for Spain & Portugal, Eric Povel, Programme Officer, Engagements Section, Public Diplomacy Division, H.E. Amb. Miguel Aguirre de Cárcer, the Permanent Representative of Spain and Andrew Budd, Defence Capabilities Section, Defence Policy and Planning Division. Mr. Budd, a career military man with over 37 years in the British army, was especially open when asked about NATO potential involvement in the Ukraine crisis. Without divulging any confidential information, he acknowledged that NATO was following unfolding events extremely closely and would have to act should Russia set its sights on the Baltic countries where an important Russian minority resides.
Following the NATO visit, students met with Dr. Salomé Cisnal de Ugarte, Counsel at Mayor Brown International LLP, to discuss international trade and the EU. On Friday, the class visited the Brussels offices of the International Organization for Migration and was given a fascinating presentation on migration in the world. Unlike popular belief, most migration is not South to North but South to South. Countries in the South do not have policies adapted to this type of migration. Improving such policies could have a beneficial impact on global development.